honey suckle

honey suckle

29.7.14

MY GRANDPA in 1914

One hundred years have passed since the World War I started.
Today, I want to talk about my grandfather who was a soldier in 1914.

My grandfather was born in 1894, and did his national service in 1914.  He passed the physical examination as a Grade One conscript (in the Japanese military at that time).  He was chosen to be a imperial guard whose duty was to protect the Emperor's castle (the Imperial Palace) from attack.  It was a very honorable to be a imperial guard at that time, because very limited number of men, who are well built, healthy and have good family members and relatives, were chosen from nearby villages.
When I was a child, my grandpa often told me and my brothers the story about his national service.
My granny had gotten tired of his talk :-)

Japan declared war against the German Empire on 23 August, 1914 under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and participated in World War I.  My grandpa had stayed in Tokyo all the time of his national service except military exercise at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

I recorded his talk about his military service on tape several years before his death.  At his memorial service all of my family members heard his voice nostalgically.

I found two photographs taken at his national service in a small drawer of his cabinet, about 10 years ago.  One of them was supposed to have been taken in the Emperor's castle.  My grandpa and his fellow soldiers were photographed in front of a stonewall.

I thought that this stonewall still existed, and when I went to Tokyo to attend the national conferences, I visited the Emperor's castle to find the place where my grandpa and his fellows took the photograph.  The castle is quite large and it takes lots of time to look round.  I visited two times to find the place, however, I couldn't find it.  The stonewall may have been destroyed or it locates in the restricted area.

My grandpa is sitting on the ground at the right end of the front row


Another photo (no information of time, place or situation)

My grandpa had given me a pocket watch when I was a student.  It still works now, but it goes too fast.  A medal attached to its chain has a design of crossed lifles and a cherry blossom.  



I want to transmit the story I heard from my grandpa to my grandchildren and posterity.
(Unfortunately, I have not grandchildren yet.)



4 comments:

  1. 2014 is a poignant year for so many of us. My grandfather served in the Great War and I feel very lucky that he survived. My mother was born during that war and my grandmother was so worried that her baby daughter would never know him but happily he survived the war. Sadly I did not have your forethought and record his stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every war is a disaster for everybody involved. My late father served in World War II, and he had never ever token about it to us.
      I am really grateful to my father for bringing me up and giving me an education in spite of poor economic condition.

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  2. ポアロさん、おはようございます。
    こちら英国でも、今年はGreat Warから100年ということで、
    さまざまな行事が行われています。
    第一次世界大戦のことは教科書で習ったことくらいしか知らずにいるのが普通の日本人だと思いますが、
    私もその一人で、こちらに来てから、欧州におけるその戦争の悲惨さを知り、驚いたような次第です。
    100年経ったからこそわかってきた事実も多く、改めて戦争の無為なこと、人々の苦しみに言葉を失くします。
    祖父は二人とも私が物心ついた頃にはいませんでしたので、話を聞くこともありませんでした。
    父はこの前の大戦で、特殊な軍務についていましたが、戦争については一言も語らず墓場まで持って行きました。

    近頃の不穏な日本の情勢を聞くにつれて、何かが始まってからではもう遅いので、
    私たちははっきりNOと言い続けなければならないと、改めて心しています。
    欧州の片隅に住んでいると、世界はいつもすぐ身近にあり、
    あちらこちらで性懲りもなく起きる戦争に、無関心ではいられません。

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 父母たちの青春時代を思えば、戦争を知らずに生きて来れた私たちの世代はたいへん幸せだったと思います。
      今、この時間にも世界では戦争でたくさんの人々が塗炭の苦しみの中で生きていることを思うと、人類には永遠に戦争のない時代はこないのではないかと無力感に襲われます。

      Delete

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